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Sunrise Campaign kicks off for people with disabilities, delays
new lgp sunrisecampaign
Owen Klug, 8, interacts with Jessica Nelson, special education teacher at Eisenhower, as he tries out his prone stander that helps with muscle tone. Kim Baird, para-professional, assists. Owen started in Sunflower Diversifieds early intervention program shortly after birth; Sunflower continues to provide support and Owen continues to progress. The agencys Sunrise Campaign, which just started, helps support people with special needs. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Those who donate to the Sunrise Campaign can be assured their generosity will lead to tangible results for their neighbors with developmental disabilities and delays.
For example, proceeds help pay for adaptive walkers, shower chairs, van-lift repairs, eyeglasses, wheelchair adjustments, doctors’ visits, dental work, communication devices and therapy programs.
“Those are just a few items off the top of my head,” said Connie Oetken, director of development for Sunflower Diversified Services, campaign sponsor. “The list could go on and on and on.
“As local and state lawmakers cut budgets, the number of people needing basic and advanced care increases,” she continued. “The needs don’t go away because the money goes away. This is why Sunflower must rely on the kind hearts of central Kansans.”
The 15th annual Sunrise Campaign kicked off with a Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Coffee and Chris Cakes pancake dinner, both on Sept. 17. The campaign runs through the end of the year.
Sunflower, a non-profit agency, is the only entity in central Kansas that provides services to all ages – birth through retirement. Its many facilities and services include the Early Education Center, Incredible Years Preschool and manufacturing plant, along with employment, residential, daytime and retirement programs.
It also operates General Public Transportation throughout its five-county service area. In addition, Sunflower provides physical, occupational and speech therapies, along with special therapeutic programs for people with severe disabilities.
“Sunflower is the original full-service provider in this area,” Oetken said. “We began caring for children 49 years ago and our many other programs were added along the way. This longevity is the perfect illustration of our commitment to clients and their families.
“Our slogan is ‘there is a difference,’ which we don’t take lightly,” she elaborated. “Since we don’t answer to private stockholders, we concentrate on giving people the options they deserve to live more independently. They are our only stockholders.”
One of many examples of going the extra mile, Oetken noted, is Sunflower operates only two group homes. Some people choose that lifestyle, while a large majority wants to live alone or with one roommate.
“And believe me, we do everything we can to make that happen,” she commented. “We could have a bunch of group homes to save money and make life easier for us. But we don’t take the easy way out. We see first-hand the remarkable changes in people’s lives when they play a big role in their own destiny.”
“We hope the community will help us provide these many services – not just to individuals but to their families too,” she added. “The Sunrise Campaign is an integral part of this.”
Oetken said anyone who wants to learn more about Sunflower or make a donation, is encouraged to contact her by calling 620-792-1325. She will arrange tours for individuals or groups anytime.
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.